The iPad mini 3 is Not Worth the Money

Apple yesterday updated the iPad line, with a new processor, improved camera and an even thinner body for the iPad Air, and Touch ID added to both the iPad Air and the iPad mini. But the iPad mini 3 sees only the addition of Touch ID; everything else is exactly the same as the iPad mini 2.

Nevertheless, this new iPad mini costs $100 more than the iPad mini 2, which Apple is still selling, for the base 16 GB model. It’s hard to compare other versions, as the iPad mini 2 is only available in 16 or 32 GB, and the iPad mini 3 in 16, 64 and 128 GB.


Nevertheless, that’s $100 for Touch ID, and for an iPad whose processor is already a year old, and which will have a shorter lifespan in terms of OS upgradability than, say, the iPad Air 2, which has a newer processor.

This seems like a ripoff. With Apple still selling the older model – and even the first iPad mini – it’s obvious that, unless you really need the storage, you’re better off getting last year’s model. You can even get a 32 GB iPad mini 2 for less than a 16 GB iPad mini 3. Touch ID is nice, but it’s not that big a deal, and not worth paying $100 for.

7 thoughts on “The iPad mini 3 is Not Worth the Money

  1. In terms of technology the new iPad mini is slightly disappointing. Who wouldn’t want a faster processor, improved graphics etc? But from a consumer standpoint it is not really disappointing.

    I’d never consider a 16Gb iPad, and indeed my 32Gb iPad 3 has been annoyingly bumping up against its memory limit for months. A 64Gb cellular Retina mini was $729 a week ago, but today it’s $100 cheaper and comes with TouchID. (The ‘new’ iPad Retina mini 2 doesn’t come in 64Gb, and overstock 64Gb cellular units at shops like Best Buy sell for at least what the TouchID machines are now selling for.)

    Since T-Mobile has a plan for $10/month that gives you the same amount of data for iPads that they give you for your phone plan, I expect I will travel quite a bit with my new mini, something I really never did with the twice-as-heavy iPad 3. And TouchID will therefore be very useful, whereas my current homebound iPad doesn’t even have on the password-protection.

    So, the tech press might call it a ripoff but it’s not for me. I really don’t want to sidegrade to a 32Gb Retina cellular mini for $529, when for $100 more I can get a capacious 64Gb plus TouchID.

  2. One other thing: in the USA the new Apple SIM is a Big Deal. Huge. It will engender more competitive pricing for data plans, forcing cellco companies to respond once one carrier drops prices or adds data, simply because with the Apple SIM users can now easily switch plans by selecting a carrier on the iPad itself.

    If I had to recommend an iPad to anyone I’d say pick based on price and size and features… but definitely get a cellular model now.

  3. UPDATE: The iPad mini 3 ended up not being worth the money for me when I looked at the prices of iPad mini 2 refurbs.

    I just ordered a refurb cellular 128Gb Mini Retina 2 with full 1-year warranty for $539, or $190 less than an equivalent iPad mini 3 (or $90 less than an iPad mini 3 with half the storage). The tipping point for me was being able to afford 128Gb storage, meaning I can take along a good supply of music and HD movies. I will miss not having TouchID but I’ve lived with entering a password on my iPhone for two years so I can live with periodically doing the same with an iPad.

    It’s officially an AT&T cellular iPad, but that’s just the SIM; T-Mobile will sell me one of their SIMs for $1, and give me free 200Mb/month data for free even if I don’t buy a data plan.

  4. Surely the extra $100 is worth the extra online transactional security that Apple Pay will afford many Apple users.

  5. Apple Pay is especially useful when you’re on the go, but since these iPads don’t have NFC chips you can only use Apple Pay for online purchases. And if you use 1Password you can autofill your credit card billing information almost as fast.

    FYI, I priced the resale value of my 32Gb iPad 3: Apple offered a $115 Apple Store credit, Gazelle offered $120 cash. Surprisingly, Amazon offered by far the best deal – a $183 Amazon store credit. So now I’ve got one week to get the iPad boxed up and to a UPS Store.

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